Archive for November 10th, 2015

Riding It Out

GC Myers- Riding It Out 2015I was and wasn’t surprised by the reaction to my last post where I noted a recent period of being deeply down in the dumps.  Almost instantly, well wishes and advice came from many quarters and to all of those who offered kind words I extend my most heartfelt gratitude.  The reaction was very reassuring, to say the least.  But that doesn’t surprise me as those people who might read the blog or follow my work tend to be feeling, empathetic beings.

But I was a little embarrassed by the reaction.  I mentioned in the post that  I thought about deleting the whole thing and it was just for that reason– I didn’t want to appear needy, begging for validation and attention even if it came in the form of pity.  And I didn’t want to show any signs of my own vulnerability.  The stigma of having one’s insecurity labeled a weakness is a powerful silencer for many people who suffer depression.

But I decided to let it go out to the world.  After all, I have always exposed both my strengths and vulnerabilities in my work and in my words.  Emotion and response to it is the basis for my work at its core.  Vulnerability is, in fact, a strength and certainly not a weakness in that realm.

In fact, exposing that vulnerability and not worrying about masking it is the key, at least for me, to climbing out of the hole.  That allows you to move, to break the paralysis of fear and lost confidence.  And sometimes the simplest movement provide that spark.

For me, it was combination of a couple of things.  First, I began to take lessons in stained glass.  Just focusing and concentrating on mastering a new process helped block out the negative thoughts and opened up new avenues of potential.  Second, I simply set my mind on clearing the cattails from one edge of my pond.  It is  mindless labor that finds me in waist and chest deep water  where I reach as deep as I can into the murky water and try to tug the whole reed and root from the pond’s bottom.  It is a grueling task, leaving me with a sore back and hands that ache severely this morning when I try to bend my fingers.

But while I am in the water in my chest waders,  I block out everything but the task of the next group of cattails ahead of me. But it is instantly satisfying to see the progress as the reeds begin to disappear, revealing the beautiful surface of the pond that I built about seventeen years back.  Seeing it without the frame of reeds that has been blocking my view brings back the pride in its creation that I often feel when I look upon it.

I have often thought that I was as proud of the pond as any painting I have ever done.  There is something wonderful in seeing how it spawns life around it.  The fish and frogs and the herons and occasional ospreys who feed on them, the yearly invasion of tiny toads migrating from it, the deer and other animals who drink and eat at its edge, the blackbirds who build elegant nests in the cattails, the dragonflies who hover inquisitively in front of me as I stand on the bank, the turtles who splash into the water from an old half submerged log, the coyote tracks that crisscross it in its frozen months, the bats that shoot across it in the twilight feasting on the bugs who rise from it,the ring of irises around it and the water lilies in it that provide sparks of bright color– they all come together in a wondrous way.

The pond has done much for those creatures and now it once again does much for me.  How could a person not begin to feel better after a few days of quietly working in that environment?

And I do feel better with each passing day, with each new effort to move ahead.  Thank you again for your concern.  It humbles me.

PS- The painting is another new small piece that I call Riding It Out.  Fits the subject, I suppose.

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